A recipe for Lemon Posset! This refreshing dessert comes together with simply cream, sugar, and lemon to create an easy treat perfect for beginners.
Lemon Posset is a British dessert similar in consistency to a custard or panna cotta, but much easier with only 3 ingredients (cream, sugar, lemon) and less than 10 minutes of cooking time. You don’t even have to deal with gelatin or eggs to get that rich and creamy texture. The acidity from the lemon juice does all the work!
Simmer cream and sugar on the stove for a few minutes, then remove from heat and mix in the lemon juice/zest. After a short rest, strain the mixture and divide among serving dishes. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to overnight to set, then simply serve with desired garnishes!
The origins of this dessert actually go back to at least the 15th century as a milk-based curdled drink or dessert with spiced wine, but it has evolved over time into a more smooth custard/pudding today.
A Few Tips
Keep a close eye on the cream as it boils. It is quick to bubble right out of the pan the second you look away. If the mixture does start to rise, reduce the heat or briefly remove from the stove while stirring and return once it settles down.
Before refrigerating, I strain the mixture to remove the thin layer that forms on the top and lemon zest. This is optional, but will help add to the smooth and creamy texture.
After transferring to the ramekins or serving glasses, refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set. It can even be prepared the night before and refrigerated until needed (up to two days) for an easy make-ahead dessert. If using glass serving containers, make sure they are heat-safe or that the mixture has cooled a few extra minutes and is no longer piping hot before pouring.
I topped the Lemon Posset with fresh blackberries and a sprinkling of lemon zest. Blueberries are another favorite. They are often served with unsweetened whipped cream and shortbread cookies for dunking to help provide a contrast for the tartness of the lemons.
Do not substitute the heavy cream. Posset requires about 35% fat to set. Dairy products with a smaller percentage are more likely to curdle and become closer to cheese in texture. This dessert can be made with other citrus such as orange or lime. The amount of juice added may need to be increased due to the lower acidity compared to lemons.
I refrigerated the glasses uncovered at first until well chilled to keep condensation from developing and dripping down onto the cream. Once completely cool, cover until ready to serve.
Due to the cream base, this is quite the rich and decadent dessert. It is best served in smaller ramekins or glasses.
Looking for more lemon-based recipes?
Lemon Posset Recipe
Adapted from Food52
- 2 cups (470 milliliters) heavy cream
- 2/3 cup (140 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- Fresh berries
- Toasted sliced or chopped nuts
- Lemon zest
- Shortbread cookies
- In a medium saucepan, place the heavy cream and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a low boil and cook, whisking often, for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the mixture to make sure it doesn't bubble over the top of the pan.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon juice and zest. Allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Strain the mixture into a bowl with a spout and divide among 4-6 small ramekins.
- Refrigerate the ramekins uncovered until set, about 2 hours. Once thoroughly chilled, cover until ready to serve (up to two days).
- Serve the set lemon posset with desired garnishes such as fresh berries, toasted nuts, or shortbread cookies along with an optional pinch of lemon zest.